Spanish football expert Guillem Balague has made a huge claim relating to the to the future of Barcelona once talisman, Lionel Messi decides to leave the club - revealing that the club's president, Josep Maria Bartomeu already has a plan in place when that eventually does happen.
Messi has been at the Nou Camp ever since he was a child and has gone on to become their greatest player and all-time goalscorer with a staggering 627 goals in just 718 games. The 32-year-old's future at the club has come under question in recent months following a public spat with technical director, Eric Abidal.
Messi's current contract with the club is set to expire in the summer of 2021, with it being understood that he has a clause in his deal which could see him leave the club for free provided that he informs the club hierarchy of his decision.
"There is a plan [for when Messi leaves]. It depends who will be the leader of that plan. So Bartomeu, the president of Barcelona, will like to continue this idea of bringing some of the former Barcelona players to the club. They tried it with Xavi, it didn't work, I think that bridge is broken at the moment. There's a lack of trust between both sides," Balague said on his YouTube channel, as quoted by Express.
"When they tried to get rid of Valverde they approached Xavi and what came out from those two meetings were two completely different stories depending on what side you ask. So the trust was broken there but the idea was always to bring him back, to bring Pep Guardiola back, to bring Puyol into the team but Puyol said no to being director of football.
"That was what Bartomeu wanted to do, to actually start the post-Messi plan and at the moment it hasn't come off. The intention will be of course to create a strong team, hence the arrival of Neymar. But if it's one of the candidates to the election, that should happen I think in 2021, say Victor Font for example, he has his own ideas of what to do after Messi. But in terms of who is in charge, I've just told you the main plans."
With the LaLiga currently suspended indefinitely due to the Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic, there is uncertainty over when the summer transfer window will start and on the contracts of the players which expire in June.
It will be interesting to see how Messi's situation plays out with it being understood that he will remain at the club for the foreseeable future.